Minniwick: Andy Priestman
As part of this years Spring Fling open studios I made a special pilgrimage to the home and studio of Potter and Artist Andy Priestman.
For 40 years Andy has lived and worked at Minniwick in South West Scotland, surrounded by woodland, his home and studio are nestled in the incredible landscape of the Galloway Hills - a beautifully scenic drive from my home in Thornhill.
He makes wheel thrown, wood-fired porcelain and stoneware pots and paintings using oil based pigments and gesso grounds, principally on 50% cotton paper.
Mixed by hand, ball clays from Dorset and Devon make up most of the two stoneware bodies he uses for his work. Colour and textures are achieved by adding, or using as slips, locally sourced low-firing clays and Ayrshire fireclays, along with the granite sand from nearby Loch Neldricken.
His glazes are based on simple combinations of clay/wood-ash and clay/limestone, along with feldspar, quartz and Cornish stone - inspired by high-fired ceramics from the Far East.
Andy make pots that are ‘good to hold and use’. His pots are fired in his own single chambered wood kiln - which he fires around 6 times a year - with timber from a sawmill 24 miles away. The wood burnt is offset by the trees he plants each year.
Nick G Smith’s documentary video below gives a wonderful insight into Andy’s firing process.
Spring Fling is an annual visual art and craft open studios event covering the length and breadth of Dumfries and Galloway here in South West Scotland. It’s a rare chance to visit Artists and Makers in their working environment.